Archive for February 2nd, 2010


A Relationship of Love

February 2, 2010

Love is one of life’s trickiest subjects.  If ever the word dynamic applied to something, it is love.  The word is overused, misused, misunderstood, deceptively used, not believed, and worst of all – sometimes not ever said.  Still, none of that diminishes love’s ability to adapt itself, as it needs.

My best friend’s daughter (she is four now) tells me she loves me all the time.  Of course, that statement tempers with the knowledge she says the same thing to worms at the bait and tackle store.  Nonetheless, it brightens my day.  The point is even at such a young age, she knows there is something special about that word.  A place card has been set within her for it and soon love will join her table of emotions as a permanent member.

As we travel life, love takes on many forms.  It always seems to be changing.  The white-hot passion of the teen years gives way to a more ember-glow of a lasting love.  Love’s changes are not good or bad, they simple are.  The problems we have with love are more to do with other emotions that tag along rather than with love itself.  We tend to think of people we love as ours, as if the object of love is a thing to own.  I can promise you, ownership and love have nothing in common.

A man may say, “I love my car” with more ease than he says, “I love my wife.”  Although both statements hold similarities, they are not close to expressing the same emotion.  On the one hand, he is talking about the enjoyment of something nice to have, that requires nothing from him beyond physical attention now and then.  On the other hand, he is talking about a tangle of emotions, desires, and vulnerabilities all focused on one person.  Women too can do the same kind of thing, but say the words with equal ease whether the subject in question is the mate or simple the latest episode of Desperate Housewives. It becomes a problem only when the recipient believes them to be expressing the same thing, which is something men do.

Unrequited love is painful, as we all learned in high school.  When rejection happens from the start, it hurts, but will pass.  More harmful is a feeling love is unreturned over time.  Just because we believe it to be unanswered though, does not mean it is.  As we spend time with someone, we gain an equilibrium that allows us to accept our partner knows our thoughts without saying them.  This is a false belief, for even if they are – you still have to express them.  The act of expressing them is, in itself, an act of love.  How horrible it must be to wake up one day to find by simple saying nothing, you have lost the one you so deeply love.  It happens all the time.  If this happens to you, do not blame the one you love, it was you that failed to express your love.  It was you that allowed them to believe love was not there.  It does not matter if you think you expressed love, it matters that they feel you have.

Love is complicated.  It is not complicated to give at first – that part is easy.  The complication comes in its maintenance.  Love, you see, is not a single straw, standing against the wind.  It is a bundle of them and individual reeds gain strength from the others.  If one straw chafes, others will follow, eventually the whole of it is beyond repair.  Care must be given to each straw to protect the whole.  Some strands will chafe and break, they need to be replaced.  In a relationship of love, trust can be lost.  Like the individual straw, either it is replaced with new trust or the relationship, as a whole, suffers.  Only with this kind of constant maintenance will love reach its full potential.  The good news is you are not alone, both work upon the same bundle and together the task becomes easier.  That is where open and honest communication comes in.  If love becomes unmanageably hard with time, look for a lack of openness and honesty.

It is the love’s details of love we must share to know love is its truest form.  It is the details of ourselves we must share.  The more you are willing to let love hurt you, the more from it you can gain.  The trick is to love someone who knows and understands this point, for only when you trust someone completely can you open your heart completely to them.  It is a risk, to be sure – but it’s one well worth taking.

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